I am sure by now everyone knows what MegaUpload, SOPA, and PIPA is. Ever since the MegaUpload has been taken down and its owners arrested for harboring illegal content, the whole cyberlocker (also what file-hosting sites are called) community has become very scared of what could happen to them. In order to avoid the problems that MegaUpload has had with the U.S. government, cyberlocker sites have been recently (since last week) deleting massive amounts of files and accounts that have “infringing” or “illegal” content. But cyberlocker sites are using the term “infringing” and “illegal” quite loosely because many of the deleted accounts and files were never illegal or infringing in the first place. The main problem with cyberlocker sites right now is that everybody that is uploading content to their accounts automatically lose all their data and the links that are associated with the content become dead no matter if the content is illegal or not. Certain cyberlocker sites have also shut down, or more accurately cut off, all their file-sharing services to the public whether a member is has a premium or free account. The majority of account owners can only upload content to their account and only download content from their account; no file-sharing link is provided anymore. Most believe once everything calms down, file-sharing will be back to a new normal with stricter policies on the types of files that can be shared. Still, no one knows for sure. After all, even if the MegaUpload case does “go away”, SOPA and PIPA bills could still be passed though both bills are on the bench right now.
This file-sharing case has already affected businesses, people and college students. Though accounts and content can still be accessed, sharing the content is impossible no matter if the content is illegal or not. For example, let’s say I have a large project file that I need to send to my classmates. None of the content in the file is illegal or infringing because both me and my classmates have discussed what can and can’t be used. Yet when I uploaded the project file to the cyberlocker site, the file was immediately deleted because of some unforeseen illegal or infringing content. So now I have some problems: 1) I obviously cannot send my project file easily to my classmates because even if my project was not deleted, the cyberlocker site would not produce any file-sharing links or the file-sharing links would only stay active for a limited amount of time (update: some cyberlocker sites have turned file-sharing services back on). 2) My security has been threatened because some thing or some one has deleted my file without telling me any clear reason why my file was deleted. And though my file was “deleted”, I don’t know that my file was actually deleted. Someone else, the cyber locker company or the government could very easily be looking at my file’s content and somehow determine that the content is illegal or infringing. 3) Instead of easily sharing my project file with my classmates, I have to spend more time finding alternative ways to share my file and finding a way can be quite a hassle especially if I don’t know of any other way to share files. Solutions for these problems hark back to old, but still used technology such as setting up meetings and using USB thumb drives to share project files between computers. And if a meeting between classmates is not possible because one of the classmates is on vacation, then the team has one member that will be behind in the project which delays everyone from finishing the project in enough time.
This problem affects many more groups of people than just the people who upload and download illegal or infringing content. In fact, the majority of the content on all file-sharing sites is mostly non-legal content such as pictures, presentations and other documents that are shared between companies, families and other groups of people. People who use upload and download illegal or infringing content are actually more of a minority group. So the effect that this file-sharing scare has had on people and companies will most likely not go away though file-sharing will come back. Most likely, when file-sharing does recover there will be much stricter rules on what kind of content can be uploaded, downloaded, shared, time-limits on active links will be stricter and cyberlocker site owners will have a more cut-throat policy when it comes to deciding what accounts and content get deleted from a server.
To celebrate the launch of the all-new 2012 CR-V, Honda brought Ferris Bueller’s Day Off back in a big game commercial. We cast Matthew Broderick as himself, skipping out on a day of acting work and living it up in his all-new CR-V. Relive movie history with Honda’s fresh twist and wonderful homage to this ’80s classic.
Think you’re a true fan of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? They hid over two dozen references to the movie throughout the commercial. Some are obvious, some are VERY subtle. See how many you can find.
Apple announced last week a major overhaul to its iBooks app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch they are calling iBooks2 which will allow textbooks to be sold and used on their devices.
iBooks in the past sold novels and other leisure reading, but this is the first time the application will support academic textbooks. Not only will students be able to read the textbooks , there will also be many interactive features, such as videos, games and quizzes, that a traditional textbook could not support.
Image by greenasian via Flickr
Apple has said none of the textbooks will cost more than $15, which is a far cry from the usual $80-$100 price tag for most academic textbooks. The company also already has partnerships with three of the largest textbook publishers in the United States: Pearson, McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt- which combined make up 90% of the textbook market in this country. This means that all of the content that is available in traditional textbooks now will likely be available digitally in the very near-future.
While there are some pretty obvious pros to the new iBooks2, looming questions also remain: Will Apple be offering discounts on their devices in order to lure educators/students in? Will school districts be expected to provide the technology to the students free of cost or will students have to pay for their own? iPads currently run from $499.00-$829.00, which is a significant amount of money to pay up front for a delicate item that a teenager may forget on a bus. Will students have to get external hard-drives to store the textbooks? The average textbook is about 1.5 GB which means that a student would fill up a 16GB iPad pretty quickly. Will this replace courses such as biology where a significant amount of the work is done in a physical lab? Will high school students never experience the sacred ritual of fighting with your lab partner over who has to make the first cut into the poor frog at the beginning of the dissection?
Apple is not the only player in the digital textbook market, Google, Amazon and others have all tried it but so far none have really taken off. Apple is surely looking to replicate the success and total market domination of iTunes with it’s re-launch of iBooks.
While obvious challenges and questions remain there is no doubt that iBooks2 is the future of education. It will take some pains, money and a significant overhaul in the way we look at education to get there, but
I have never been a fan of fiction/fantasy literature. I read one “Harry Potter” book and about a chapter of the first “Twilight” book before I got bored and turned back to my standard reading fare, which consists of mostly nonfiction from the likes of Jon Krakeurer and Chuck Klosterman. A couple of days ago, I saw the trailer for “The Hunger Games” movie coming out in March, and it piqued my interest enough that I decided to give the first book a go. Forty-eight hours later, I am done and can’t wait to start the sequel; it is one of the most engrossing books I have ever read.
The story revolves around a post-apocalyptic United States with twelve different “districts” that are all ruled by an oppressive government that resides in the “Captiol.” Once a year, two “tributes” — a teenage male and female — are sent to fight in the annual Hunger Games, which is an all-out fight to the death among the 24 tributes; the games do not end until 23 of them are dead.
“The Hunger Games” is just the latest in the young adult (YA) genre literature to gain traction with a wider audience. The YA genre is consistently an area of the publishing world where sales continue to be strong. In 2009, adult hardcover sales were down 17.8%, whereas children’s/YA hardcover sales were up 30.7%. The college market likely had a lot to do with this (Carpenter, 2010).
There are several reasons the YA genre has become so popular, including: easy-to-understand plots, fast-paced character development and nostalgia for one’s own youth. The most common theme in YA literature is the classic coming-of-age story, even if vampires, wizards and fights to the death are mixed in.
The following is a list of the top ten best YA books for those of us who may be long past that YA stage. If you are in youth marketing, burying your nose in one of these books this winter should be part of your homework assignment.
Carpenter, Susan. “Young adult lit comes of age.” The Los Angeles Times 8 March 2010